Running a sub 2:10 marathon

On Friday night I ran my second Mile PB in 6 days and today I came second in a marathon.  Running a sub 2:10 marathon would normally win you the race but I was up against younger opposition who edged the 26.2 mile race by just 40 seconds.

As any of you that know anything about me or running in general will realise, I’ve not quite shared all the details of my marathon exploits today so let me set the record straight.

On Friday night I really did run my fastest single mile ever to follow up from my PB performance at the Bourton Mile Challenge last weekend.  The second Summer Soar Mile was held in Battersea and I took my mile PB down to under 5 minutes 50.

And today I took part in a marathon.  Something I didn’t think would happen so soon after my disappointment at London this spring.  Fortunately, I had 27 Witney Road Runners club mates to share the pain of this marathon.  We would be completing a marathon as a 100 metre relay, and we would be challenging the junior section of our club who were the old hands at this event.

How hard could it be?

The combined Senior and Junior teams

The senior section didn’t really know what was going on and all of a sudden the chairman had pointed at me, numbering me “2” – I’d be the first senior to receive the baton! No time to warm up; I needed to get my club shirt on and change my trainers.

40 second later I was a spectator again after running the 2nd 100 metres of the race.  That was the stray 200m out of the way, now 42km to go, or 105 laps!  At least with a bunch of team mates we’d only have to do 1 mile each.

Just four laps.

Or 16 one hundred metre efforts.

Now I love running a mile fast but wow, never before have my legs felt so much like jelly and my trainers felt so heavy!  What a session!

And what an event.  The junior and senior sections don’t get to see each other compete often so it was great to bring the club together.  It was inspiring to see the juniors in action.  While some were as tall as the seniors some looked so diddy yet everyone of them gave their all and most with a beaming smile too.

The seniors were inspirational too.  Some of the mentalists had already covered 10 miles or more this morning but yet everyone gave their all, although the beaming smiles had been replaced with red faces and grimaces!

It wasn’t only some of the juniors’ first time on an athletics track.  I loved seeing the childish bouncing from some of the seniors experiencing the spring of the track.

As much effort was expended from the sidelines as everyone was encouraged to keep their legs going and the seniors took an early lead, only to be pegged back by a guest appearance from a (former) junior, Matt Ashton.

The seniors pulled away again until a fumbled baton change from none other than our chairman, John McCormack opened the doors for the juniors.  The senior team’s energy was started to dwindle (and bodies were aching) while the juniors were still going strong and had some of their fastest left to finish the job.

The final lap was suddenly upon us and there was nothing we could do to peg the juniors back who finished 40 seconds ahead – a worthy victory for the kids but I’m sure the seniors will be back to challenge them next year.

The seniors finished in a time of 2:09:04.

Let’s put that (and top class marathon performances) into perspective….

That would be the fastest time by a British athlete in the marathon in 2017!  And it would have been enough to beat Callum Hawkins 2016 British best time of 2:10:52.  Go the 28 of us!

Looking further back in history, out time would only have been the 6th fastest marathon by a British athlete!  There were 28 of us!  And when you look at the world record for the marathon, Dennis Kipruto Kimetto would have been 6 minutes into his post race routine as we crossed the line.

One man raced the entire 26.2 miles quicker than 28 runners taking it in turns to run 100 metres flat out.  In fact, we wouldn’t have made it in to the top 25 marathon times.  Hats off to those elite athletes.

And hats off to all the wonderful people at my club for organising and participating in such a brilliant event.  Both Tamsyn and I had a great time.

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